The scandal in Serbia after the revelations about the 24 apartments in Bulgaria bought by the Mayor of Belgrade through offshore companies continues. Sinisa Mali held a press conference on October 22 and said that a document with his signature, available in the Bulgarian Commercial Register, is “absolute fake”. This is a document about the decision of the sole shareholder to approve the annual financial statements of the company. The document is dated February 28, 2015.
On Monday, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, KRIK.rs and Bivol published an investigation, supported by documents, according to which in 2011 Sinisa Mali was the director of two offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands. Through them he acquired 24 properties in the Saint Nikola resort near Bulgaria’s Chernomorets. The sellers were the former director of Lukoil in Serbia Srdjan Dabic and his Bulgarian partners Vlado Boyanov and Edith Getova.
Mali presented to the media another decision of the sole shareholder, signed by attorney Ana Ivanova Panayotova, dated March, 5, 2015 (see here). It includes a sworn statement by attorney. Anna Panayotova, alleging that Sinisa Mali has nothing to do with the offshore company and that by February, 28, 2015, she was the sole owner and representative of Brigham Holding & Finance Inc. (see here). There is a second affidavit submitted by the translator, who translated for Mali and who has certified that he agreed with the translation. She further stated that her signature was forged (see here).
However, none of the documents presented by Mali is certified by a notary and submitted for entry in the Commercial Register, showed a check of Bivol. At the request of our colleagues from KRIK.rs, we acquired certified documents from the Commercial Register submitted in 2014, which were signed by Sinisa Mali as director of Brigham Holding & Finance Inc. and Etham Invest & Finance Corp. (see here and here). Identical documents were filed in 2013 as well
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Corporate records also show that Sinisa Mali authorized Anna Panayotova to represent him for the entries for Erma 11 and Erul 11 that own the 24 properties in the Saint Nikola resort.
Connections with privatizations deals of Lukoil
Edith Getova was Deputy Minister of Economy in the right-wing government of Prime Minister, Ivan Kostov and was in charge of the privatization of the refinery in Bulgaria’s Burgas by Lukoil. She was fired after a probe of the National Security Services, incriminating her in corruption, leaked in the media, but proceedings against her reached a dead end. On his part, Sinisa Mali controlled the procedure for the privatization, also by Lukoil, of Serbian State gas company Beopetrol, and then became director of the Russian company.
#WHO has submitted false documents in the Commercial Register?
However, the claim about the “fakes” seems dubious, given that the same lawyer, Anna Ivanova Panayotova, filed on June 28, 2015 sets of documents for the annual financial statements of Erul 11 and Erma 11. In order to submit the documents online, she used an electronic signature and presented a power of attorney. These documents are not yet processed by the Commercial Register, but are available online for each holder of a Bulgarian electronic signature.
The documents include the decision, signed by Sinisa Mali in February, about which both Mali and Panayotova now say that it is fake. There is no trace of the decision of attorney Panayotova from March 2015. There is no document that certifies the representative power of Panayotova as new director of the offshore company, but a document from 2011 has been submitted and it certifies that Sinisa Mali represents the offshore company.
Panayotova: “I bought the offshore companies after March 2014”
Bivol contacted Anna Panayotova on the phone and asked her how come the Commercial Register included documents submitted by her for which she now claims that they are not authentic.
“It is not possible,” she said and denied submitting them. “I am the owner and representative of offshore companies since last year,” Panayotova stated categorically. She could not remember when exactly she has become the owner of the offshores which own considerable property, but promised to send their current status, confirming this fact, by email.
Panayotova refused to answer the question how long she had known Sinisa Mali and how much she has paid to acquire the offshore companies, and through them their property, estimated at 5 million euro.
But she agreed that since the Commercial Register lists an officially registered document from March 5, 2014, the deal had occurred after that date.
Actually, Anna Panayotova, who is authorized to represent Dabic and Boyanov and Mali, has filed absolutely all applications and documents in the Commercial Register since the creation of Erul 11 and Erma 11 in 2011 until 2015, without exception. On behalf of Mali, she has also filed with the State institution over ten documents with his signature – decisions on the approval of annual reports and decisions on the appointment of managers.
The offshore companies were concealed by Mali while he held public office
As of March 5, 2014, when the last undisputed (so far) document was signed by Sinisa Mali as director of an offshore company, he already occupied a public office. In 2012 he was financial advisor to the current Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic. At the end of 2013, following the resignation of Belgrade Mayor Dragan Dilas, Mali was appointed President of the Temporary Council of Belgrade. He remained at the post until the elections in April 2014, which he won, and became Mayor of the Serbian capital. Thus, it appears that for nearly two years Mali failed to declare the offshore companies owning 24 properties in the luxury resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
Updated on Friday, October 23, 2015 18:30 CET
Attorney Anna Panayotova sent an email to the editorial office with the following statement, which once again did not clarify exactly when she became the owner and director of both companies.
“On the occasion of what is written on the portal: I publically announce that I have not made any statement that on the date March, 5, 2014, I have become the owner of the two companies related to the publication. What I stated categorically and which a notary has ascertained is that I am the owner and director of the companies that interest you. I have taken steps to require all documents in the order of their entry in the Commercial Register in order to verify the authenticity of the documents and seek prosecution of all persons responsible for counterfeiting. ”
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